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Protecting Ngutukākā

Growing Ngutukākā from seed is relatively easy but protecting them from pests and predators is not. Preservation of ngutukākā takes heart, soul, commitment and passion. It is a job that is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Everything is working against the survival of this species, but for those of us who are dedicated to ensuring it doesn’t become extinct on our watch, here are some recommendations from Graeme on how to protect ngutukākā.

Slugs & Snails

Slugs and snails adore ngutukākā as much as Graeme does. They can destroy a plant in a very short amount of time. It is essential to protect your plantations with repellent, but for the best chance of success, the only way to protect Ngutukākā is to pick snails and slugs off your plants, one by one. Graeme recommends going outside on drizzly nights when snails and slugs are most likely out, and dropping them into a bucket of water as you go. Over the course of three or four evenings in a row, you should start to make an impact on the slug and snail population near your ngutukākā. When you are only finding smaller specimens, you know you’re having an impact. Standing in the rain might feel a bit extreme but consider when you’re out there that other passionate, committed ngutukākā enthusiasts such as Graeme are out there, probably at the same time as you doing the same thing. By working together we give this taonga species the best chance of survival.


Goats also love ngutukākā, and as the plant likes to grow on steep, rocky, sunny cliff faces, these two share a preferred habitat. One hungry goat can destroy a ngutukākā plant in just one session. It is essential that ngutukākā is planted in places where goats can be controlled, please click here to our crowd funding kaupapa that seeks to employ local hunters to protect ngutukākā. In the wild, introduced mammals such as goats and also hares and rabbits do untold amounts of damage to our native ngahere and we support all efforts to contain, restrict and eliminate them from our whenua. Find out more about the Raukumara Pae Maunga restoration project that seeks to eliminate all predators from the mighty Raukumara forest, where the majority of the remaining wild ngutukākā are still holding on.


Cattle love the highly nutricious seed poods and will destroy ngutukākā in an instant. Roadside plantings must be well-planned to ensure any stock cannot reach ngutukākā and ideally placed well back from gates and fence lines. Wandering cattle must be contained before they can do more damage to this - and other - taonga species.


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